Doesn’t it seem like there are a million options out there for apps to use? I’ve heard from business owners and organizations that the number of software subscriptions they have seem out of control and hard to track. I get that, I’ve had to do an “audit” myself of the apps we’re paying for and figure out if we even actually use them.
That’s why this episode of Leverage Your Spark is all about making the most of the software & apps you already use.
It might just be me, but the shiny object syndrome is real. When I hear about a new app (hello ChatGPT) or how someone else is using a software program, I get all excited about the possibilities. And yes, software and apps can be amazing tools in organizations. And… we’ve likely all experienced when another app causes more problems than it solves.
Unlocking Hidden Potential: Getting the Most Out of existing Software
In our work with companies to help them optimize their systems, almost every time we do an assessment, they have multiple tools that can perform the same functionality. Or, they are asking for additional capabilities that their existing software already provides.
The reason software providers and app developers charge subscription fees is so they can be constantly improving the software: ensuring its reliability and adding features. For us app users, that means we are sometimes completely unaware that the app we have has additional functionality that could be really helpful for us.
So, what if the subscriptions you are already paying and software you already have installed could make your work even MORE effective & efficient? Let’s dig into how you can figure that out and ensure you’re maximizing the value of the tools you already have.
Leveraging Values of Software
Some usual suspects here are your Email & Calendar Apps. It doesn’t matter if you are using Google or Microsoft, here are a few features that you might not be using to their full potential:
- Schedule send
- Built in booking links
- Email templates
- Attach files from cloud storage (so they are just links and not actual files)
Another common subscription is Adobe Acrobat for creating and editing PDFs. Did you know that Adobe Sign is included with your Adobe Acrobat subscription? Adobe Sign lets you send documents for online signatures.
This is not a time to feel embarrassed or ashamed if you had no idea that your existing software had these capabilities. Seriously, no one has the time or attention to be able to keep up with all the updates and functionality. It can be overwhelming when you start using a new app, and most organizations don’t dedicate much time or resources to onboarding new software. But, now that you know that there’s likely a lot more potential in the tools you already have, you can do something about it.
Tips for Maximizing Productivity
Here’s a few ways you can make the most of your existing tools and apps:
- Put time on the calendar monthly to do a training course or watch an online tutorial for your most commonly used apps. Most of our software will send emails announcing new features or training, you can save these in a folder or create tasks in your project management system so you have a list of resources when your monthly training time comes around.
- Create a place for team members to share their tips & finds. Everyone has a different aptitude for software, so you can take advantage of any enthusiastic team members by creating a repository for sharing tips and information. This could be a Slack channel, document, bookmark folder or just any version of a shared space that already exists. We’ve created an Airtable database for keeping track of all the apps we use and all the apps we find that we might later want to use.
- When you think you need a new app, first review the functionality of all your existing software. Making this part of the process for evaluating new software means you won’t be paying for something new when one of your existing subscriptions already provides the functionality. This can also point out opportunities for integration between your existing software programs. Most online apps at this point can interface with other apps, making your work more efficient.
- And finally, know your processes so you can customize the tools to fit your workflow & preferences. Modern software options are kind of like amazing Lego sets – all the bricks are there to build something awesome, but you need to know what you want from it.
Empowering Your Team with Technology
Taking the time and applying some energy to understanding the tools you already have and using them to their fullest potential maximizes their value to the organization and can make for happier team members. No one enjoys manual data entry or wrestling with systems that don’t seem to fit. When we let technology do what it is best at, it frees up the people to do what they are best at: being creative and forming relationships.
Need some help getting started with figuring out the software & apps you already have? I’m sharing my tracking template with you, just go to fieryfx.com/tracker to get a Google Sheets template to help you start maximizing the value of your current software subscriptions.
In the next episode we’re talking about how to amplify your time. When looking at systems optimization, time is one of the critical resources that is getting chewed up and can’t be renewed. In the episode we’ll get into what is taking your time and how to amplify it.
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